Saturday, December 31, 2011

Second Song: Knowledge



The gift of knowledge points out to us the path to follow and the dangers to avoid in order to reach heaven.


St. Teresa of Avila says that self-knowledge is painful!


When we enter into a deep, intimate relationship with Jesus in the life of prayer, he begins to tell us about ourselves, and sometimes this is not a pleasant revelation. In the life of prayer, when one is seeking to obtain a pure heart, the light of the Holy Spirit begins to reveal to our minds all sorts of deep-seated attachments that we possess.


The gift of knowledge helps us to put into light the worldly things we can easily become attached to. We then make a choice with our will to give up the attachment and pray for God's grace to actually help us to do it. The life of the Carmelite is a call each day to become detached to the world and to die to ourselves. A Carmelite is called to do this with great joy!
Embracing the cross and trying to enter through the narrow door are painful prospects. If we keep in mind our heavenly goal and place our trust in Christ our Hope, we can strive for holiness with a calm and peaceful heart that brings joy to our lives. A joy that is the hallmark of authentic holiness.


I recall the lives of the French Carmelite martyrs of Compiegne who went to their death singing! The popular opera, Dialogues of the Carmelites is based on this true story.


An excerpt from the true story:


The nuns were sentenced to the guillotine. An ironic sidelight: the one nun of royal blood, Marie of the Incarnation, happened to be away at the time of the arrest and thus escaped execution; one of only three survivors of her community, she became the martyrs first historian, collecting eyewitness accounts of the nuns deaths. Reverend Mother Émilienne, Superior General of the Sisters of Charity of Nevers, wrote in a letter:

I learned from a person who was a witness to their martyrdom that the youngest of these good Carmelites was called first and that she went to kneel before her venerable Superior, asked her blessing and permission to die. She then mounted the scaffold singing Laudate Dominum omnes gentes. She then went to place herself beneath the blade allowing the executioner to touch her. All the others did the same. The Venerable Mother was the last sacrificed. During the whole time, there was not a single drum-roll; but there reigned a profound silence.

Sister Charlotte of the Resurrection, seventy-eight and an invalid, having been thrown roughly to the pavement from the tumbrel, was heard to speak words of forgiveness and encouragement to her tormentor. Sister Julie had an extreme horror of the guillotine; yet she refused to leave her sisters even when her family sent for her, saying, We are victims of the age, and we must sacrifice ourselves for its reconciliation with God." Another witness said of the nuns, They looked like they were going to their weddings."


Copyright ICS Publications. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, if this copyright notice is included. http://www.icspublications.com/






Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, please pray that the Light of the Holy Spirit may give us knowledge that we may see ourselves as God sees us.


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
________________

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Carmelite Quote



St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes:

If you give yourself to prayer, you'll find that God will show Himself to you, and make you fall in love with Him. In prayer our soul seeks Him out, and if we do so, wanting to know and love Him, Jesus will raise a bit the veil that conceals Him and show us His divine Face, radiant with beauty and sweetness. There are times when He will open His Heart's wound, and will show us the treasures of his infinite goodness and love. At other times He lets His sweet voice be heard, leaving the soul consumed by love and repentance.





Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
_________________

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!




MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL READERS OF SPIRIT SINGING!
MAY YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES HAVE A BLESSED AND GRACE-FILLED NEW YEAR!

(Double-click screen for large view)
















Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
___________________

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Three Words of Wisdom

SELF-UNDERSTANDING IS NEGLECTED

Our Lady's "self-knowledge:"
"I am the handmaid of the Lord."
Recently, while in the waiting room of a doctor's office I picked up a flyer and was immediately captivated by the first line:  "In today's busy world, self-understanding is often neglected." I went on to read the short paragraph that highlighted the benefits of a total body massage from "the tips of your toes, to the tips of your eyelashes." Well, as a Secular Carmelite, of course I could see the spiritual symbolism in this statement.  It certainly reflects a twisted spirituality in light of our Christian faith.

"The path of self-knowledge
must never be abandoned."
The Life Chap. 13, No.15
 Self-understanding? Where have we heard this before in our Carmelite studies?  St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila), of course!  She teaches us the great benefits of self-knowledge. A knowledge about ourselves that is realized through quiet prayer and submission to the work and grace of the Holy Spirit.  This holy enlightenment, however, is not as relaxing and physically enjoyable as the total body massage. It is much, much different. It can be very painful, in fact, even for those who are given to prayer and contemplation.   Sometimes, it takes great courage to pray, for we  know that we will stand before the Lord...he may bring to our mind and our attention where we have failed: our ugly faults in all their glory!

The person who submits to a total body massage in the secular world makes a decision to have a stranger manipulate his muscles and joints.  They place themselves in a vulnerable position with this stranger.  Let us take this example as food for meditation. Let us ask the Holy Spirit for courage to come before him in prayer ready to have him reveal to us who we really are before him.  This may not be a pleasant sight or revelation in our eyes, but it is necessary for spiritual growth. 

While the world tells us not to neglect our "selves," to pamper the body and to embrace all the pleasures the world has to offer, let us remain faithful to our call to holiness through true self-knowledge  wrought in us by the Holy Spirit.

Our holy parents, St. John and St. Teresa, clearly teach us to be detached from the senses and worldly pleasures, let us also be detached from spiritual consolations, where we would like to remain in consolation and be pampered by the Holy Spirit. St. Teresa and St. John tell us that consolations are given for service to God and neighbor. God will console us when we need it, let us not put service aside to seek these spiritual favors.


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
_________________

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday of Our Lady

(photo:R.Masssaro)
Sorrowful Mother Shrine, Ohio
Scarcely had the angel departed when Mary was on the road. The first pilgrimage of faith had begun. The handmaid, who was the servant of the Lord, was going to serve, presenting for all time the idea of the serving Church. It was the first act of service to God made man. It was Mary's first act of faith; she believed the added sign given her by the angel; Behold your cousin Elizabeth has conceived." (Lk I,36) The Mother with the instinct of motherhood, utterly forgetful of self, was prompted to go out to another's need. She wanted not only to share her love but to share the Beloved. As she started out she was setting his feet on the path to Jerusalem where He would complete his supreme act of service by becoming "the suffering servant."

Mary's first pilgrimage of faith has so much to teach us. She inspires us to go out with generous hearts to love and serve the Lord in all around us.
Pilgrims With Mary John Moloney P.P.

Visit the Carmelite Monastery in Latrobe, Pa.



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
______________________

Friday, December 16, 2011

CARMELITE SAINT OF THE DAY

TODAY'S SAINT:
BLESSED MARY OF THE ANGELS




Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
__________________


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Carmelite Saint of the Day

HAPPY FEAST DAY TO ALL CARMELITES
SOLEMNITY OF ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
______________________

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Carmelite Quote

...This enkindling of love and the union of these two faculties, the intellect and the will, is something immensely rich and delightful for the soul, because it is a certain touch of the divinity and already the beginning of the perfection of the union of love for which the soul hopes. Thus one does not receive this touch of so sublime an experience and love of God without having suffered many trials and a great part of the purgation.
The Dark Night, Chap. 12, No. 6

Reminder: Today is a day of fast and abstinence for OCDS

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
_______________

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Three Words of Wisdom



COME TO ME...

Today's "Three Words of Wisdom" immediately call to mind Our Lord's beautiful exhortation, "Come to me all you who labor and find life burdomsome..."  We could take liberty with this passage and write our own statement that we would hope to hear from our Dear Lord.  All we need do is call to mind the cross he is asking us to carry at this moment in our life.  What would you like to hear Jesus say to you ?  Perhaps, "Come to me, all you who are sick."  "Come to me, all you who are experiencing family problems." Come to me, " All you who are unemployed."  Come to me, all you who are mourning and weeping over a deceased loved one."

Jesus tells us to Come to him. Let us make the effort to meet him face-to-face, for he has already come to us and abides with us.
Jesus invites us to "come to him" on a daily basis; in prayer, in the Holy Eucharist, in Scripture, in our neighbor.  We have the opportunity each day to meet him face-to-face in so many ways, we only need to turn to him, to be aware of his presence within us.

Let us approach Our Lord humbly, ever-mindful of who we are before him: his servants, yet his children, too. He is waiting to give us what we need: his very body and blood, the Holy Eucharist for our spiritual journey, his companionship in prayer, the support of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Let us have a great desire to see all people come to Him. He is waiting with arms open....for you!

Visit the Carmelite Monastery of Port Tobacco, MD

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
________________

Thursday, December 8, 2011


SOLEMNITY OF OUR LADY
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE
BLESSED VIRGIN MARY


Photo: R Massaro, Crowned Virgin
Lourdes, France

LOURDES LIVE WEBCAM


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
_____________________

Monday, December 5, 2011

SAINT TERESA OF AVILA CHURCH
CADIZ, OHIO







Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
__________________

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Saturday of Our Lady

Photo: R. Massaro Lourdes, France
The definition of the Immaculate Conception  of Our Blessed Lady in 1854 was like a great light in a dark age. It was preceded by her appearance at Rue de Bac in Paris in 1830; heaven's preparation; and followed by Lourdes in 1858; heaven's approval.

To Catherine Laboure, a young Sister of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, she appeared in the convent chapel...What was the purpose of her coming? To tell a sinful world of a mother's sadness, and to plead with men to return to the Lord. Catherine, like Bernadette, was chosen for a mission to pray and suffer for sinners, and to convey a message to the world.

As Moses returned with God's loving design, the tables of the Law, cut in stone, Catherine brought her message to the world imprinted on a medal. What a concise summary of salvation that medal presents. The Heart of Jesus surmounted by a cross, the heart of Mary, pierced by a sword. 

Prayer:

O Mary conceived without sin, obtain for me from your Divine Son a deep hatred of sin, purity of soul and body, the gift of prayer, a holy life and a happy death.
(From Pilgrims With Mary by John Moloney P.P.)

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
__________________ 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Carmelite Quote



Image in Carmelite Monastery Cleveland, Oh.
 St. John of the Cross
Feast Day: December 14

...Some examples of these habitual imperfections are: the common habit of being very talkative; a small attachment one never really desires to conquer, for example, to a person, to clothing, to a book or a cell, or to the way food is prepared, and to other trifling conversations and little satisfactions in tasting, knowing, and hearing things, and so on. Any of these habitual imperfections to which there is attachment is as harmful to progress in virtue as the daily commission of many other imperfections and sporadic venial sins that do not result from a bad habit. These latter will not hinder a person as much as will the attachment to something. As long as this attachment remains, it is impossible to make progress in perfection, even though the imperfection may be very small.
Ascent of Mt. Carmel Book I Chap. 11, No. 4

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
__________________

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Carmelite Saint of the Day

Bls. Denis and Redemptus

Denis of the Nativity, a priest, called in the world Pierre Berthelot, was born in Honfleur in France in 1600. He was a cartographer and naval commander for the kings of Portugal and France before he joined the Discalced Carmelites in Goa in 1635. It was also at Goa that the Portuguese lay brother, Thomas Rodriguez de Cunha, born in 1598, had made his profession in 1615, taking the name Redemptus of the Cross. They were sent to the island of Sumatra, where, in the town of Achen, they received the martyr’s crown on November 29, 1638.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
__________________



Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Season of Advent: A Time of Waiting upon the Lord in Faith...
Let us keep watch with Mary, Our Mother!




Pope Benedict XVI Declares a "Year of Faith"

Pope Benedict XVI has declared a Year of Faith, beginning on October 11, 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.

I have decided to announce a Year of Faith. It will begin on 11 October 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and it will end on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, on 24 November 2013. The starting date of 11 October 2012 also marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a text promulgated by my Predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, with a view to illustrating for all the faithful the power and beauty of the faith. This document, an authentic fruit of the Second Vatican Council, was requested by the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in 1985 as an instrument at the service of catechesis and it was produced in collaboration with all the bishops of the Catholic Church...

The Year of Faith, from this perspective, is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world. In the mystery of his death and resurrection, God has revealed in its fullness the Love that saves and calls us to conversion of life through the forgiveness of sins (cf. Acts 5:31). For Saint Paul, this Love ushers us into a new life: "We were buried ... with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Rom 6:4). Through faith, this new life shapes the whole of human existence according to the radical new reality of the resurrection.


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
___________________

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday of Our Lady


...Free of every profane entanglement, Mary attended to God and her domestic duties with the freedom of a soul that is liberated from all purely human thoughts and worries.
Through a special grace Mary had a sure mastery of all the movements of her heart; yet she took the most scrupulous care to keep it free of any distraction...
How many holy hermits and virgins have reached the heights of sanctity simply through the merits of an interior life!
The man given to externals, on the contrary, is anxious and agitated by countless trifles that are unworthy of his attention, and so he loses pace and tranquility...
Try, then, to remain within yourself and give yourself to external affairs only when God requires it...
From the Imitation of Mary Book II Chap. 19







Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
______________________

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Carmelite Quote


One dark night,
fired with love's urgent longings
--ah, the sheer grace!--
I went out unseen,
my house being now all stilled.

This dark night is an inflow of God into the soul, which purges it of its habitual ignorances and imperfections, natural and spiritual, and which the contemplatives call infused contemplation or mystical theology. Through this contemplation, God teaches the soul secretly and instructs it in the perfection of love without its doing anything or understanding how this happens.
St. John of the Cross The Dark Night, Chap. 5


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
______________________

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Let us pray to Christ the King. He is the firstborn of all creation; all things exist in him.

– May your kingdom come, O Lord.

Christ, you are our savior and our God, our shepherd and our king,
lead your people to life-giving pastures.
– May your kingdom come, O Lord.

Good Shepherd, you laid down your life for your sheep,
rule over us, and in your care we shall want for nothing.
– May your kingdom come, O Lord.

Christ, our redeemer, you have been made king over all the earth,
restore all creation in yourself.
– May your kingdom come, O Lord.

King of all creation, you came into the world to bear witness to the truth,
may all men come to acknowledge your primacy in all things.
– May your kingdom come, O Lord.

Christ, our model and master, you have brought us into your kingdom,
grant that we may be holy and blameless before you this day.
– May your kingdom come, O Lord.

PRAYER:
Almighty and merciful God,

you break the power of evil
and make all things new
in your Son Jesus Christ, the King of the universe.
May all in heaven and earth acclaim your glory
and never cease to praise you.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
– Amen.

Visit the Carmelite Monastery-Zephyr, Canada

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
_____________________


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stained Glass Scapulars-Reflections on the Secular Carmelite Rule

Article 9:

Taking into account the origins of Carmel and the Tersian charism, the fundamental elements of the vocation of Teresian Secular Carmelites can be summarized as follows:

a)  "to live in allegiance to Jesus Christ." supported by the imitation and patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose way of life is, for Carmel, a model of being conformed to Christ.

b)  to seek a mysterious union with God; by way of contemplation and apostolic activity, indissolubly joined together, for service to the Church;

I will stop at this point today and post on the other three points of Article 9 in the future.

For now, let us consider point b: to seek a mysterious union with God...  Do you like a good mystery?  Or do you dislike trying to figure things out bit-by-bit?  Because of our human nature, we like to have things made perfectly clear to us.  This can be the case in our spiritual lives as well. We will not make much progress if we are constantly trying to figure out the mysterious ways of  God's will  for us.  Even St. John of the Cross warns us that we can put up a roadblock to advancing in prayer because of our futile effort to figure out God. 

The point of our Rule states "to seek" this mystery.  We must take an active part in this intimate relationship with the Beloved. We must seek him out while in prayer, while at work, while at home, while sleeping, while breathing...this seeking of the mysterious union with God should become a perpetual desire of our heart, not something that comes to mind occasionally. 

The next part of point b is that we seek this union with God by way of contemplation.  This may actually seem funny if we think about it.  For what other way would there be to seek union with God if not by prayer and contemplation?  Even St. Teresa of Jesus seems a  little perplexed when speaking of the soul as the castle and the door by which we enter this castle as prayer, she states "As far as I can understand, the door of entry into this castle is prayer and meditation..."(IC, Chap.1, No. 7). Yes, to communicate with God one needs to pray. 

Our Secular Carmelite Rule takes this relationship even deeper by saying to seek God by way of contemplation, yet we know that contemplation is a total gift from God, a type of prayer of the heart that we are not able to produce on our own. Then the next part of the exhortation: apostolic activity, indissolubly joined together for service to the Church.  Uh Oh!  Now I may have to leave this special place of prayer and actually go out and help my family, my neighbor, my co-workers.  This could get ugly!  Can't I go back to prayer?  Yes, of course, good and faithful Carmelite.  There is a time for prayer and a time for service.  May we be given the wisdom to know the difference!

As secular Carmelites we are to seek the face of God in prayer on behalf of the Church, so while our mission is one of prayer and contemplation, we must share the fruit of our prayer and be witnesses and missionaries in the world. This missionary work should begin at home. Let us be good witnesses to the love of God in our families, our family of Carmel, at work, at our parish and in the marketplace. There are no exceptions--we never take a break from trying to respond in charity.

Article 9 summarized: prayer and work on behalf of the Church.  Let us be faithful to this marriage of contemplation and service. Let us pray for each other.


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
__________________

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This week's featured Catholic church:
Immaculate Conception Church
Dennison, Ohio



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
_____________________

Monday, November 14, 2011

Feast of All Carmelite Saints

All of us who wear this holy Carmelite habit are called to prayer and contemplation. This is what we were founded for. We are descended from those holy fathers of ours on Mount Carmel, those who went in search of that treasure--the priceless pearl we are talking about--in such solitude and with such contempt for the world.

We must remember those holy fathers of ours who have gone before us, the hermits whose lives we are trying to imitate. We must remember our real founders, those holy fathers whose descendants we are. It was by way of poverty and humility, we know, that they came to the enjoyment of God.
From the works of St. Teresa of Jesus


General House of the Teresian Carmel



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
_________________

 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sayings of Light and Love

SAYING #47

Lord, you return gladly and lovingly to lift up the one who offends you, but I do not turn to raise and honor the one who annoys me.

Visit the website of the Carmelite Vicariate in Nigeria


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
_____________________


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday of Our Lady

Photo: R. Massaro Most Pure Heart of Mary Shelby, Ohio

My child, if you love the Lord, you will also love your neighbor for whose sake He came down from heaven, became a man, and offered His own life on the Cross.

Do not be satisfied with sentiments; let your love take concrete form. Many who are afflicted need the comfort of your words; many who are unhappy need the help of your generous gifts.

God has allowed many people to be unhappy in this world so that they might achieve holiness through their suffering and you through your charity.

Be ready to give all the help you can. Delay always means the loss of some of love's merit.

Let your love be generous and extend as far as possible.

To limit the service you offer your neighbor is to evade rather than carry out the duties of love.

When you yourself cannot help your neighbor, then try to bring others to help him, or at least invoke the Lord's providential care over him.

See in your neighbor not a mere man but God Himself. Then, no matter who asks your help, you will refuse him nothing, because you do not want to refuse it to the Lord...

Give the afflicted a consoling word, Then the God of all consolation (2 Cor 1,3) will sustain you in your own afflictions by His powerful grace.
The Imitation of Mary Book I, Chapter 21

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
___________________

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Carmelite Quote



St. Therese of the Child Jesus:

Ah! What peace floods the soul when she rises above natural feelings. No, there is no joy comparable to that which the truly poor in spirit experience. If such a one asks for something with detachment, and if this thing is not only refused but one tries to take away what one already has, the poor in spirit follow Jesus' counsel: "If anyone take away your coat, let go your cloak also."

To give up one's cloak is, it seems to me, renouncing one's ultimate rights; it is considering oneself as the servant and the slave of others. When one has left his cloak, it is much easier to walk, to run...


Visit the Carmelite Monastery of San Antonio, Texas


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
____________________

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Carmelite Saint of the Day

Blessed Elizabeth of the  Trinity

O my God, Trinity Whom I adore, help me to forget myself entirely that I maybe established in You as still and as peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing trouble my peace or make me leave You, O my Unchanging One, but may each minute carry me further into the depths of Your Mystery.



Give peace to my soul; make it Your heaven, Your beloved dwelling and Your resting place. May I never leave You there alone but be wholly present my faith wholly vigilant, wholly adoring, and wholly surrendered to your creative action.O my beloved Christ, crucified by love, I wish to be a bride for Your Heart;I wish to cover You with glory; I wish to love You even until I die of love!But I feel my weakness, and I ask You to "clothe me with Yourself,"to identify my soul with all the movements of Your Soul, to overwhelm me, to possess me, to substitute Yourself for me that my life may be but a radiance of Your life.

Come into me as Adorer, as Restorer, as Savior, O Eternal Word, Word of my God, I want to spend my life in listening to You, to become wholly teachable that I may learn all from You. Then, through all nights,all voids, all helplessness, I want to gaze on You always and remain in Your great light. O my beloved Star, so fascinate me that I may not withdraw from Your radiance.O Consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, "come upon me,"and create in my soul a kind of incarnation of the Word:that I may be another humanity for Him in which He can renew His whole Mystery.

And you, O Father, bend lovingly over Your poor little creature:"cover her with Your shadow," seeing in her only the "Beloved in whom You are well pleased."O my Three, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to You as Your prey. Bury Yourself in me that I may bury myself in You until I depart to contemplate in Your light the abyss of Your greatness.






Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
___________________

(Elizabeth's famous prayer to the Holy Trinity)



Saturday, November 5, 2011

Three Ways of Prayer

Three Ways of Prayer:
Vocal, Meditation, Contemplation


Vocal Prayer: By words, mental or vocal, our prayer takes flesh. Yet it is most important that the heart should be present to him to whom we are speaking in prayer. Catechism #2700



Think of vocal prayer as a young flower, a few buds, but no full blooms.




Meditation: Meditation is above all a quest...The required attentiveness is difficult to sustain. We are usually helped by books...Catechism #2705




Think of meditation as a more mature flower, it has been nurtured and well-tended and has produced a beautiful bloom


Contemplation: What is contemplative prayer? St. Teresa answers: "Contemplative prayer in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us." Catechism #2709
Think of Contemplation as the exquisite Rose, a symbol of God's beauty and purity shining through the soul. Now in full bloom, it's only requirement: to soak in the sunlight.

Vocal and Meditative prayer require human effort. It is difficult to pray when one does not "feel" like it. As Carmelites, we have made a commitment to 1/2 hour of mental prayer each day. This requires the taking up of our cross in being present to the Lord amid dryness, distractions,and a lack of sensible consolation. St. John of the Cross warns us about being attached to sensible consolations in prayer. And many souls who begin the life of prayer quickly give up when the consolations cease. The Lord desires faithful lovers, who love him because he is worthy to be loved and not for the favors he bestows upon the soul.


Here is a beautiful quote from the Catechism's section on prayer-#2711:

Entering into contemplative prayer is like entering in to the Eucharistic Liturgy: we "gather up:" the heart, recollect our whole being under the prompting of the Holy Spirit, abide in the dwelling place of the Lord which we are, awaken our faith in order to enter into the presence of him who awaits us. We let our masks fall and turn our hearts back to the Lord who loves us, so as to hand ourselves over to him as an offering to be purified and transformed.


Wow! What a beautiful description of the contemplative heart. A heart that all the faithful are called to. In this prayer, our whole being participates in the love and adoration of the Holy Trinity. As the Virgin Mary, our model exclaimed, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord!"


Carmelites are a witness to the world of this call. A call that is stifled in our society. A society that is focused on material things, on sensible things, on my own things, on a number of things.


Who will climb the mountain of the Lord? Who will heed the call of the Lord? A call to intimate union, intimate friendship with him? We need the Holy Spirit to enlighten the hearts of the faithful. Remember, we too were once in the dark before the Lord opened our eyes to see him and to begin the pilgrimage up Mount Carmel.


St. John of the Cross began his pilgrimage in the dark night of faith.


One dark night,
fired with love's urgent longings
--ah, the sheer grace!--
I went out unseen,
my house being now all stilled.



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
___________________



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Solemnity of All Saints

QUEEN OF ALL SAINTS, PRAY FOR US!

Pope Benedict XVI Homily for All Saints Day (2009):

With great joy, we celebrate the feast of All Saints. Visiting a nursery garden, one remains taken aback at the variety of plants and flowers, and spontaneously begins to think of the Creator's fantasy that made the earth a marvellous garden.


These same sentiments come to us when we consider the spectacle of hol-iness: the world appears to us as a "garden," where the Spirit of God has sustained with remarkable wonder a multitude of saints, male and female, from every age and social condition, of every tongue, people and culture. Each is different from the others, with the uniqueness of personality and spiritual charism.

All, however, were marked by the "seal" of Jesus, the imprint of his love, witnessed upon the Cross. All now are at joy, in a feast without end as, like Jesus, they reached this goal across toil and trial, each one encountering a share of sacrifice to participate in the glory of the resurrection.

This spiritual measure, to which all the baptised are called, is accomplished in following the way of the evangelical beatitudes. It is the same path traced by Jesus and which the saints pushed themselves to follow, always aware of their human limits. In their earthly existence, in fact, they were poor in spirit, pained by their sins, starved of and thirsting for justice, merciful, pure of heart, peacemakers, persecuted for righteousness' sake.

On this day let us revive in ourselves an attraction toward Heaven that calls us to carry on in our earthly pilgrimage. Let us lift in our hearts the desire to always unite ourselves to the family of the saints, of which we already have the grace to be a part. In the words of a celebrated song, "When the saints go marching in, oh how I'd want, Lord, to be in their number!"

May this beautiful aspiration burn in all Christians and help them to surpass every difficulty, every fear, every tribulation. Let us place, dear friends, our hand in the maternal one of Mary, Queen of All Saints, and let ourselves be led by her toward our heavenly homeland, in the company of the blessed spirits "of every nation, people and language." And let us unite ourselves in prayer already recalling our dear departed ones whom we commemorate on this feast day.

LITANY OF THE SAINTS





Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
____________________


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday of Our Lady




Our Lady
Comforter of the Afflicted

From the life of St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes:


Following your suggestion, Rev. Father, I meditate on Saturdays upon the Virgin Mary's virtues. Our Lord told me to meditate on her purity, and then I heard a voice teaching me and explaining my Mother's purity.  I don't know what it was, but I didn't recognize the voice and asked Our Lord if it were He speaking. But He told me that it was His Mother. Then the Most Holy Virgin told me that she would reveal to me her motherly Heart, so that I could read in it how far her purity extended; so that, by imitating this virtue, I'd be able to achieve complete union with God.  After telling me all this, she told me everything I must strive to do in order to be pure and belong to God completely.
1.  That I should turn away every thought that was not of God, so that in this way I can continually live in His presence. That I should avoid every affection for creatures, so that they'll never disturb me.
2.  That I am to have no other desire but to belong more and more to God each day...
3.  That I am to be pure in my deeds: to abstain from everything that might stain me in the slightest, and do only what is pleasing to God, who seeks my sanctification...




Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
______________________

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Carmelite Quote

St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes:
We live for Jesus alone. And just as the angels in heaven incessantly sing His praises, so does a Carmelite echo those praises here on earth, whether near to the tabernacle where God who is Love lives imprisoned, or in the intimate depths of her soul's heaven, where faith tells her God dwells. Our vocation's objective is love, the greatest thing a human heart can possess. This love is a bonfire where the soul is consumed and made one with her God.

Visit the Carmelite Monastery Seattle, Washington

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
_______________________

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Three Words of Wisdom

Yesterday, Today, Forever


...Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
(Hebrews 7:8)

How many times have you been disappointed by a friend, neighbor, co-worker or spouse?  Yes, human nature with our weaknesses and faults is one sure thing we can bet on.  If we put our trust in people instead of the Lord, we will almost always be disappointed.

Let us look to Jesus Christ to be our strength, our consolation, and our joy!  He never disappoints us if we place our trust and hope in him.  He promised to remain with us until the end of time...then when this earthly life is over he promises to be with us forever.  As Catholics, we can say we have the best of both worlds.  We have Christ present with us in the Holy Eucharist and are able to receive him daily if we so choose, and if we remain faithful we will abide with him forever in the company of the Saints and the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. 

If we get down or depressed because we do not seem to make any spiritual progress, if we get depressed because we commit the same sins, let us look to Jesus whose mercy is always available.  His forgiveness is always available.  He doesn't cast anyone aside.  He is long-suffering and patient with his broken people.

As Catholics, as Secular Carmelites, let us pray that we may be merciful, long-suffering and patient with the weaknesses and faults of others.  For then, God will not be disappointed in us.


Visit the Carmelite Monastery in Armstrong, British Columbia



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
___________________

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday of Our Lady


When Pope Paul VI wished to explain how the Church closely associated with her Lord, invokes Christ and through him worships the eternal Father he looked to Mary as the exemplar. He described her as "The Virgin who listens," "The Virgin who prays," "The Virgin who offers." He put listening first.


Hers was the attention of living faith. Because she had perfect faith she was the perfect listener. She had heard and made her own of every word the Lord had spoken to her: that she was full of grace  and that the Lord was with her, and that the fruit of her womb would be blessed.


Mary, seat of Wisdom, had so much wisdom to impart, yet it was God's plan that she should speak by her silence. Mary the listener spoke so few words, and her last word was that we should listen to her Son, and to bring to our listening her obedience, "Do whatever He tells you." (Jn. 2,5).


Prayer:
Immaculate Virgin, you graciously listened to the prayers of  Bernadette; you remained beside her with a mother's vigilance in all her sufferings. Bend down your ear to my poor pleadings and make me also attentive to your word.
From Pilgrims with Mary by John Moloney P.P.



Visit the Carmelite Monastery in Arlington, Texas




Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
___________________

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Psalms, Prayers and Proverbs





PENANCE!  PENANCE!   PENANCE!

Today's post from Proverbs comes from a friend of Spirit Singing.  This is a passage that describes the evil behavior of a wicked heart that the Lord hates.  We only have to pick up a newspaper or listen to the news to see these qualities of an evil heart displayed throughout our society.  Let us pray for light and for the conversion of sinners as Our Lady requests.

Provers 6:16-19

There are six things the Lord hates,
yes, seven are an abomination to him;
Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood;
A heart that plots wicked schemes,
feet that run swiftly to evil,
The false witness who utters lies,
and he who sows discord among brothers.

For Christians who are called to follow Christ and seek purity of heart, these evil qualities, even in their most subtle form should be rooted out in us.  Let us pray for the light of the Holy Spirit who reveals these things to us in prayer.  St. Teresa teaches us that this self-knowledge is painful, but it is necessary for our spiritual growth, so that one day, with pure hearts we may cry out with St. John the Baptist, "There is the Lamb of God."  For only the pure of heart can see God.  Let us pray for each other.

Visit the Carmelite Monastery-Salt Lake City




Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds